“What a Difference a Daddy Makes”- Review

TitleWhat a Difference a Daddy Makes: The Indelible Imprint a Dad Leaves on His Daughter’s Life

Author:  Dr. Kevin Leman

Length:  236 pages

Price: $10.19 at Amazon.com

Overview:  Ever since I found of we were having a little girl, I have been plagued with the notion that I don’t really know a lot about the female gender.  At the wise old age of 28 I am just now catching on to fun things like “I don’t want you to fix my problem, I just want you to listen to me complain” and “the closer you sit to me on the couch the more you like me”.  In all honesty I am blind man trying to feel my way through the world of the feminine. 

I’m not sure how to be a good dad to a kid, let alone a girl.  So how in the hell do I raise a little girl so she doesn’t end up on the stripper pole?  Enter Dr. Kevin Leman. . .

Dr. Leman is a well known psychologist and author of more than 20 books on family issues inlcluding “What a Difference a Daddy Makes: The Indelible Imprint a Dad Leaves on His Daughter’s Life”  This book is a guide on how to be a good dad by raising a daughter in a balanced environment so she avoids the trials and tribulations of nasty relationships in her own life.

One of the main points of “What a Difference a Daddy Makes” is that children look for love and acceptance from both parents; but the opposite sex relationship (dad-daughter, mom-son) is the one that will affect them the most in their lives.  A daughter’s image of how a man should treat her is based on how Dad treated Mom.  If you’re never around, negligent, uncaring, abusive, drink too much etc, your daughter will subconsciously look for that when she grows up.  Dr. Leman’s rule of thumb is: Treat your wife the way you would want your future son-in-law to treat your daughter.  So if you’re wondering how to be a good dad, start by being a good husband!

“What a Difference a Daddy Makes” also goes into depth about how much involvement a dad should have in their daughter’s life.  Dr. Leman describes Daddy Attention Deficit Disorder, or dad’s under-parenting, which can lead to lower self esteem and may drive your daughter to do self-destructive things to get your attention.  By not being involved in your daughter’s life (not knowing her friends, likes, dislikes, or listening to her talk about her day) or being too involved in yours (working too much, devoting too much time to hobbies) can lead to this.

On the other hand, “What a Difference a Daddy Makes” also talks about over-parenting.  By being too involved in your daughter’s life you can make it so she is always dependent on you.  By not allowing her the freedom to make her own decisions and sometimes fail you are hindering her greatly.  This sometimes means letting her get hurt; and while we have no problem “toughening up” a little boy, most of us are unable to let our little girls do the same.

So like all things in life, moderation is key.  Dr. Leman lays out how to show your daughters boundries but also discover the world for themselves.  By arming your little girl with these tools you better equip her to handle the world she will one day have to interact with.

“What a Difference a Daddy Makes”  also covers topics like how to talk to your daughter about developing into a woman and sex.  Yes, it made me uncomfortable to read (and honestly type right now) but it is a fact of life that must be dealt with.  While I have many years until I have to do deal with this (I think 25 years is ok) there are some great tips I will remember.  For example; the best way to discuss this topic with your daughter is in a car so both of you can look out of the windshield and not have to make eye contact.  Write that one down!

What I liked: “What a Difference a Daddy Makes”  is filled with common sense solutions that will help you raise a balanced daughter and have a better relationship with your wife as well.  It’s a good read for Moms too, as it explains a lot about her relationship with a son, husband and daughter.

What I didn’t like: One issue I have with the book is that Dr. Leman is very religious and his faith is intertwined with his teachings.  I don’t fault him for this since the book is about his family and obviously faith is a big part of that.  It’s just that I am not religious so I felt like some things didn’t apply to me. 

I also found that he could be very hard core in some of his views.  For example; he would tell his children every time they drove past an accident that drugs and alcohol were involved.  Thus, they grew up believing that IF you drink or try drugs you will die in an accident.  That is too extreme for me.

My Opinion: I personally think “What a Difference a Daddy Makes”  is a great book.  If you are at all confused about how to be a good dad to a little girl I highly recommend it, especially if you are religious.


6 Responses to ““What a Difference a Daddy Makes”- Review”
  1. Coachdad says:

    What a great post… with great references. Been a father for 10 years and still never stop learn about parenting.

  2. Adam says:

    Yeah that was one of the themes of the book; you have to be there and you have to be consistent. It’s good to know that no matter how long you have been a dad the learning process is never over.

    Thanks for the comment!

  3. ciara says:

    sounds like a great book for dads. dads get so uncomfortable talking w their daughters about certain things, and it sounds like it gives you tips on how to handle it. my dad was very instrumental in a major point in my life growing up..you would have that it would be my mom. as humans, parents, students, etc., we are constantly learning…i love that about life.

  4. Adam says:

    Yeah I agree; it’s all about learning and growing as a person. I think a lot of people see marriage or kids as the end of a journey; a destination. Instead we should look at it as a new phase of life that we need to embrace and learn all about.


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